Monday, 13 June 2016

End of Watch by Stephen King (Bill Hodges, #3) - Book Review

5/5 Stars


Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 351
Chapters: End of Watch's structure follows an eclectic pattern. There are several parts to the book, and inside each part are numbered sections. (Each new part resets the number count back to one, making it hard to identify an overall tally.)
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


End of Watch: A fitting title for a fantastic finale. 

The last entry in King's crime trilogy mixes genres in a way only a master writer can. With terrifying thrills and haunting horror, End of Watch is an addictive blend of gritty and utter insanity. The way the author plays with the reader's mind and convictions makes us second-guess any conclusions or predictions we make.

In tune with this are the characters driving in the front seat. They're as lost as we are, and thanks to the chemistry King creates between each distinctive cast member, we're on the edge of our seats, constantly freaking out that our heroes have just started down a path that has a very decisive end.

And be prepared to bawl like a baby. The emotional ravaging this novel dishes out is a force to be reckoned with...


Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Retired Detective Bill Hodges and his business partner Holly are called to the scene of a murder-suicide to consult.
It seems like a simple case, with an apparent conclusion.
But Bill and Holly see something else: A signature, and one they are all too familiar with.
Someone is goading people into committing suicide, and no one loves that power more than mass-murderer Brady Hartsfield.
The only problem is that Holly herself bashed his head in, and Brady now resides in hospital, declared a veritable vegetable.
But as events progress and coincidences line up, Bill Hodges will have to swallow an impossible truth.
How do you defeat an enemy that can't possibly be real...?

Plot - 5/5 Stars

End of Watch works on its own. King does a great job of giving the reader the perfect amount of information to fully comprehend this entry's story and characters. But, I do recommend reading the series from the beginning. All three novels have been superb, and each builds the stakes higher and higher. Thanks to having prior knowledge, within twenty pages I was brimming with excitement. The beguiling blurb (and if you've read the previous entries, their allusions) gets the imagination going.

From the get-go an intricate web is spun. King brings the series full circle by bringing back a voracious villain. The plot is smart, mixing the realistic mystery with paranormal horror. But King doesn't just state events, he artfully confuses the reader. The amount of skepticism we feel is delicious, putting us on the same wavelength as the characters and ensuring we never linger on any predictions we might make.

It could've gone horribly wrong, but the author brings things to a fine point by the end, leaving us satisfied, and terrified, by the story's events.

End of Watch also centres the conversation on suicide and the impact it can have. He shows us just how easy you can push someone if you have the right words to do it, and how inhumane it is to feel like we can say what we like to people whose position we don't understand. It's a hard subject to focus on, but the novel treats it with respect, and an author's note at the back of the book sees King ask those who might be in that position to speak up.

Things can and will get better if you seek the help you need, because while there are monsters in the world, there are also a lot of great people.

There's only one you, and you deserve to live.

Back to the plot, the finale is Tense with a capital T; a heart-pounding experience full of dread and excitement. Opposing forces come to a head, and be wholly prepared to be in floods of tears by the concluding pages.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

The plot, the cast, and the writing all progress with meticulous care. There's one thing End of Watch is not, and that's stale. Different viewpoints and agendas keeps things tense and suspenseful, breaking up the exposition which delivers twist after twist after twist.

The personal revelations concerning certain characters also help to maintain the reader's interest. Action is imbued with weight as the fictional beings we care about go at it in a battle of intellect that could decide the lives of many, many innocent people.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

I have yet to read a King novel (and I plan to read many more) where the cast hasn't sucked me right in. End of Watch is conveyed phenomenally through the eyes of several different characters, both the good and the bad. Our two main protagonists, Bill and Holly, are a duo that is hard to top. The personal and professional relationship they share is endearing, and both are distinctive pieces that fit perfectly together.

Hodges on his own helps keep the novel grounded. While the overall plot tries to take off and fly out of your reach, Bill's personal trials with cancer as he races to take down an evil force help offset the more supernatural aspects. 

King also takes us on a journey through infamous killer Brady Hartsfield's mind. The way Brady is built and how he shapes his motivations creates a chilling experience. He is, overall, one of the best villains I've read of in a crime-centred series.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

Scenes are on point and convey stellar emotions. King's use of the present tense keeps the flow moving without stuttering, and the third-person narration ensures that each character gets the right amount of attention. 

Above all, the overall cohesion is terrific, reaching a satisfying end that ties the series with a bloody bow.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

I can't recommend this trilogy enough. It doesn't matter what genre you prefer, you shouldn't miss out on this masterful experience from King.

Previous Instalment: Finders Keepers

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